Sat, Jun 20, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Fitbit shows muscle in NYSE debut as shares soar 50%

AP, NEW YORK

Celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak and actress Jordana Brewster lead a Fitbit lunchtime workout event outside the New York Stock Exchange during the IPO debut of the company on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Fitbit Inc flexed some muscle on Thursday and its shares rocketed almost 50 percent higher in the first day of trading for the fitness tracking gear maker.

Fitbit’s initial public offering priced at US$20 per share, bringing in more than US$730 million and valuing Fitbit at about US$4.1 billion in total.

The company had already raised its stock price expectations this week and said the IPO would include additional shares, but the offering still surpassed its estimates.

The company makes devices worn on the wrist or clipped to clothing that track steps taken, calories burned and other data and can be synced up with smartphones. Fitbit also sells a Wi-Fi enabled scale that tracks body mass and other data.

Fitbit is the biggest-selling company in the young fitness tracking gear industry. Sales surged to US$745 million last year, almost tripled its total from the previous year. Its first-quarter revenue this year tripled as well. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fitbit said it sold 10.9 million devices last year.

Market research company CCS Insight expects that companies including Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike Inc, Xaomi Corp (小米), Garmin Ltd and Misfit Inc will ship 24 million fitness trackers in the US this year, and says that number will double in 2018. However, some fitness trackers may already face a big threat from an even newer product: smart watches from companies like Apple Inc, Google Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

Gfk research group thinks smart watch sales will top fitness tracker sales this year, although it strong growth in fitness tracker sales. Gfk said more people will buy smart watches as marketing grows and as the devices become more similar to smartphones.

Fitbit sold a total of 22.4 million shares, raising US$448 million. Its stockholders sold another 14.2 million shares, worth about US$284 million.

The San Francisco company’s shares jumped US$9.68 to US$29.68 on Thursday.

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